The Lowdown On Coffee Blends
Coffee comes from many regions around the world. After it is grown, harvested, and processed, it is shipped to the roaster, roasted, then shipped to coffee shops or stores. If you’re drinking coffee in a café, then it was ground, brewed, cupped, and served to you. There's two major categories of coffee served in cafés: coffee blends, and single-origin. This post will discuss what coffee blends are and why they exist.
There's two major categories of coffee served in cafés: coffee blends, and single-origin.
This sounds great and for the story of most coffees, it ends right there. One coffee from one region, processed one way and roasted one way (called “single origin coffee”). However, that is not the case for all coffees. Many are blends of beans grown and harvested in different regions and/or countries. They might also go through different processing methods. These coffees are called “blends”. Similar to how wine from different regions or grapes can be blended to produce a new drink.
Why you ask? Well, there are many different reasons for blending coffee. Most of the time it comes down to finding the perfect mix of flavors that go well together to make a well-balanced cup of coffee. A bean from El Salvador may have some great honey notes while an Ethiopian has a strong cherry flavor. Two great flavors that come out distinctly in each coffee bean. When coffees from different origins are blended and roasted together, they produce a unique mix of delicious flavors. This is a simplified example, but I hope it gets the point across.
One main use for coffee blends is for daily brew. Often Brazilian and Columbian coffee beans will be blended to make a drip coffee blend that tastes close to what we might consider ‘traditional coffee’ taste. It doesn’t have to taste bad! It also shouldn't be bitter and taste lie motor oil! These ‘traditional coffee’ flavors could be caramel, nuttiness, chocolate, etc. Bending these traditional flavors helps to balance out the overall taste, and keeps the coffee from having one taste that overpowers the whole drink.
The coffee from big box stores or that comes in a can is not made to taste good, it's made to wake you up. If you are buying coffee in a specialty coffee shop, it SHOULD taste good.
Single origin coffees see the spotlight of daily brew less often because their unique flavor notes are very forward and pronounced. While I would love the Kenyan light roast with hints of lavender, it’s something I want to be special, not drink every day! However, many specialty coffee roasters will have certain single-origin offerings that have very unique flavor notes. These flavor notes are often influenced by the terroir of the coffee. Meaning its effected by the soil, weather, region, and even surrounding farms.
We strive to serve the best coffee in NW Austin and Cedar Park. We love offering incredible blends and single-origin options. Next time you're in Illuminate Coffee Bar, try a single-origin pour over, ask what the flavor notes are, and see if you can begin to taste them in your coffee!
What do you think? Do you pay attention to if you’re drinking a coffee blend or single-origin?